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10 Essential Ways to Hack Your Life (Instead of Letting Life Hack You)

10 Essential Ways to Hack Your Life (Instead of Letting Life Hack You)

    1. Stop waiting for things to change – change yourself NOW! 

    Most often that means changing your attitude! Too many times people have preconditions to happiness, only to find even if they reach that goal, there are even more pre-conditions to happiness. Aside for a temporary “high” when we attain our goal, we very quickly go back to a general baseline mood unless we change our thinking habits. If you tend to be a pessimist, you will continue to be no matter what happens on the outside, unless you change from the inside. Real attitude change is an inside job!  

    2. Build on your regrets, rather than let them keep you stuck in the past.  

    All too often, we use the past as a hitching post rather than a guide post. What’s done is done, and you can’t change it now. Use lessons from the past to improve your life NOW!  See even failure as feedback, not as a referendum of your self worth. Regrets can propel you forward, make you wiser and help you develop empathy for others. Regrets give us many useful lessons to build upon if you do not let them weigh you down. Forgive yourself for now knowing everything when you were six! We are all works in progress. Use your regrets as stepping stones towards a better future, rather than rocks in your emotional backpack.

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    3. Learn something every day.

     The end of school does not mean the end of learning. We are learning all the time, even if we are not aware of it. Life gives the best lessons of all, and it constantly teaches us lessons no one ever could. If you open up to the wonder of growing and learning, even if the lessons are something you never wanted to learn, you will keep moving in a forward direction.

    4. Stop lying to yourself! 

    People who are the most honest to others are often the biggest liars to themselves. They feed themselves all sorts of fiction that they are not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, to the extent that they feel at times like “failures”. The critical inner voice is hard to quell, especially if you learned early on those messages that were judgmental and critical.  People who lie to themselves treat fact like fiction.  Change your self talk from statements like “I should be further along in my life than now” to “I am disappointed at where I am in my life, and I have learned many lessons to build on to make different decisions now.”  

    5. Forgive…for goodness sake!

    Forgiveness does not mean condoning behavior – it means you give up the bitterness you harbor that eats at you and robs you out of happiness in life.  People who wrong us are not inherently evil, but rather more likely unhealthy and maybe very very, very unhealthy. Switching from seeing from being “bad” to being “unhealthy” can free you of the resentment and bitterness. Whether it is your parents, coworkers, friends, or as a result of a love relationship gone sour, forgiveness will help you open up your heart to try again.  Of course, the most important person to forgive is yourself, and keep in mind you are a work in progress.

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    6. Think straight to feel great! 

    Irrational thinking lays the foundation for a lot of unhappiness and helplessness. Irrational thinking can be so automatic, that it is hard to catch, as our thoughts become solidified into “truths.” Our perceptions shape our reality, and that is what determines our attitude. As you become more aware of irrational patterns of thinking and change them into more rational thoughts, you will be empowered to change your attitude to change your life. “I can’t stand this” is irrational – nothing makes you melt into the ground! A more rational perspective is, “I am having a hard time with this”. The less you immobilize yourself with judgmental thoughts, the more you will feel empowered and optimistic.

    7. Try to change what is in your control, not what is out of your control.  

    Who is the only person we can change? Ourselves!  Who do we often try to change? Others!  Even trying to change someone else’s mind, however well meaning, can lead to frustration as people do not change just because you want them too – they need to want to! If you find yourself trying to change others, you will tend to be aggressive rather than assertive.  Bossiness and insensitivity will limit your ability to be accepting of others, flaws and all.  Of course, accepting people does not give them a “carte blanche” to say or do anything they want – it is up to us to set limits on how much we let them into our inner world. People who tend to be negative and focus on changing others rather than themselves are more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives.

    8. Make peace with the fact that life is not fair.

    We all know that life is not fair, but all too often we still expect it to be!  Expecting that life and people in it should be fair is the source of countless pain. Life gets quite tedious with that type of entitled mentality. Life is really more like Swiss Cheese with all its holes. It is not smooth and predictable like cream cheese or American.  It is actually the holes in our lives that offer us challenges that make us stronger and develop depth of character.  If we embrace the holes in our lives and grow through them, we become healthier in mind and spirit. Try as hard as you can to make life fair, and accept the rest and work around it.

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    9. Let yourself smile from within.

       People who are grateful for what they have instead of comparing themselves to others, feeling bitter about what they do not have, tend to feel less hacked by life. Pre-conditions to gratefulness is like pre-conditions to happiness – gratefulness will never happen unless we learn to be grateful for things in our life now.  Life can be tough and it is easier to find faults with it, but it will be an easier journey if we stop to smell the roses, slow down, and enjoy beauty in your world today.   Immerse yourself in nature, breath in the fresh air, slow down and savor each bite of food, and stop to lovingly gaze on those close to you.  Don’t take them for granted.  Are you too busy for that?  Let yourself be a human being instead of a human doing. 

    10. Don’t wait to change your life – do it today!  Start right now!

    You want your life to change?  Don’t wait!  Tomorrow is forever put off, and today is the day to start.  You can empower yourself by using “victor” language instead of “victim” language.  Replace “I should” with “I will”  and “I hate to” with “I don’t like”. The more flexible your self talk, the more you feel empowered and will be proactive.  Proactivity is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people according to Stephen Covey. Those who are proactive are more likely to be masters of their destiny, as opposed to those who are reactive, who allow others to control their moods. Make an action list of things you want to accomplish, and start today!  You do not have to do things all at once, and breaking large goals such as losing weight, can be broken down into little sub-goals.  The important thing is to begin today!

    Each day that you choose to remind yourself of these ten skills to hack life rather than let life hack you, you will increase your sense of self-mastery and enjoy life more.

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    I welcome ideas of how you hack life!

    (Photo credit: A Better Life Sign via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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